Little Green Men, Meowing Nuns and Head-Hunting Panics: A Study of Mass Psychogenic Illness and Social Delusion

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9780786409976: Little Green Men, Meowing Nuns and Head-Hunting Panics: A Study of Mass Psychogenic Illness and Social Delusion
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"For a two week period in 1956, residents in the vicinity of Taipei, Taiwan, lived in fear that they would be the next victims of a crazed villain who was prowling the streets and slashing people at random with a razor or similar weapon. At least 21 victims were reported during this period, mostly women and children of low income and education." A thorough investigation revealed however, that: "five slashings were innocent false reports, seven were self-inflicted cuts, eight were due to cuts rather than razors, and one was complete fantasy." This is one example of many cases of what has traditionally been called "mass hysteria" that are examined in this comprehensive study of human beings' fear of the unknown. Beginning with a concise history of mass hysteria and social delusions, the author differentiates between the two and investigates mass hysteria in closed settings such as work and school, and mass hysteria in communities with incidents such as gassings, Pokémon illnesses in Japan, and medieval dance crazes. Also examined are collective delusions, with information on five major types: immediate threat, symbolic scare, mass wish fulfillment, urban legends and mass panics. The book ends with a discussion of major issues in the area of mass hysteria and a look toward the future of this intriguing subject.

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About the Author:

Robert E. Bartholomew has taught sociology in Australia at The Flinders University of South Australia and James Cook University in Queensland. A former broadcast journalist and contributor to news organizations such as the Associated Press and United Press International, he currently teaches at Botany College in Auckland, New Zealand.

Review:

"...well-documented information to those interested in mass psychosocial phenomena, and as fascinating leisure-time reading to the general."  --Wolfgang G. Jilek, Professor Emeritus, Clinical Psychiatry, University of British Columbia.

"...will interest any reader curious about the fallibility of human reason and observation.  For the expert who has to address strange conditions in the courts such as the multiple personality disorder, it provides a wide range of even stranger phenomena over the centuries."
--David Bell, Editor, Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences

Robert Bartholomew bucks the tide of fashion and offers fascinating case studies of mass hysteria and delusions. ...Bartholomew reminds us that we are as much beast as angel, and that intellectual fad is utterly incapable of exiling our more fanciful, demonic tendencies to the dustbin of history.
-Erich Goode, Department of Sociology, State University of New York at Stony Brook

This is no mere academic study. These things happen - and Bartholomew shows us that they happen far more frequently than most of us imagine. ....Bartholomew and his various co-authors offer us a timely book which can help us to see that only when bizarre happenings are placed in a psychosocial context - the cultural milieu of those who experience them - can we begin to see them for what they are. 
-The Skeptic Magazine (UK) Winter 2001

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Book Description McFarland & Co Inc, United States, 2001. Paperback. Condition: New. New. Language: English. Brand new Book. For a two week period in 1956, residents in the vicinity of Taipei, Taiwan, lived in fear that they would be the next victims of a crazed villain who was prowling the streets and slashing people at random with a razor or similar weapon. At least 21 victims were reported during this period, mostly women and children of low income and education. A thorough investigation revealed however, that: "five slashings were innocent false reports, seven were self-inflicted cuts, eight were due to cuts rather than razors, and one was complete fantasy." This is one example of many cases of what has traditionally been called "mass hysteria" that are examined in this comprehensive study of human beings' fear of the unknown. Beginning with a concise history of mass hysteria and social delusions, the author differentiates between the two and investigates mass hysteria in closed settings such as work and school, and mass hysteria in communities with incidents such as gassings, Pokemon illnesses in Japan, and medieval dance crazes. Also examined are collective delusions, with information on five major types: immediate threat, symbolic scare, mass wish fulfillment, urban legends and mass panics. The book ends with a discussion of major issues in the area of mass hysteria and a look toward the future of this intriguing subject. Seller Inventory # BTE9780786409976

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Book Description McFarland & Co Inc, United States, 2001. Paperback. Condition: New. New. Language: English. Brand new Book. For a two week period in 1956, residents in the vicinity of Taipei, Taiwan, lived in fear that they would be the next victims of a crazed villain who was prowling the streets and slashing people at random with a razor or similar weapon. At least 21 victims were reported during this period, mostly women and children of low income and education. A thorough investigation revealed however, that: "five slashings were innocent false reports, seven were self-inflicted cuts, eight were due to cuts rather than razors, and one was complete fantasy." This is one example of many cases of what has traditionally been called "mass hysteria" that are examined in this comprehensive study of human beings' fear of the unknown. Beginning with a concise history of mass hysteria and social delusions, the author differentiates between the two and investigates mass hysteria in closed settings such as work and school, and mass hysteria in communities with incidents such as gassings, Pokemon illnesses in Japan, and medieval dance crazes. Also examined are collective delusions, with information on five major types: immediate threat, symbolic scare, mass wish fulfillment, urban legends and mass panics. The book ends with a discussion of major issues in the area of mass hysteria and a look toward the future of this intriguing subject. Seller Inventory # AAN9780786409976

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Book Description McFarland & Co Inc, United States, 2001. Paperback. Condition: New. New. Language: English. Brand new Book. For a two week period in 1956, residents in the vicinity of Taipei, Taiwan, lived in fear that they would be the next victims of a crazed villain who was prowling the streets and slashing people at random with a razor or similar weapon. At least 21 victims were reported during this period, mostly women and children of low income and education. A thorough investigation revealed however, that: "five slashings were innocent false reports, seven were self-inflicted cuts, eight were due to cuts rather than razors, and one was complete fantasy." This is one example of many cases of what has traditionally been called "mass hysteria" that are examined in this comprehensive study of human beings' fear of the unknown. Beginning with a concise history of mass hysteria and social delusions, the author differentiates between the two and investigates mass hysteria in closed settings such as work and school, and mass hysteria in communities with incidents such as gassings, Pokemon illnesses in Japan, and medieval dance crazes. Also examined are collective delusions, with information on five major types: immediate threat, symbolic scare, mass wish fulfillment, urban legends and mass panics. The book ends with a discussion of major issues in the area of mass hysteria and a look toward the future of this intriguing subject. Seller Inventory # AAN9780786409976

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